Dec 14, 2014

Spicy Uni Pasta with a Touch of Sriracha and Kumquat Juice

Getting off the bed every morning in such a cold weather can be a tough task. My desire for warmth is also growing day by day. Hot drinks, mittens, blanket on the sofa, even the heated toilet seat provide a sense of comfort. Food-wise, if not having Chinese chicken soup nor western pot roast, at least something spicy would warm up the body from inside out.

The regular creamy uni pasta is not good enough in winter. However, using chili infused linguine and some Sriracha in the sauce, sounds like a good idea!

Spicy uni pasta with a touch of Sriracha and kumquat juice -



Ingredients (for 2 to 3 portions)?

  • 1 bag/250 grams of linguine with red chili 
  • 1 small box/100 grams of uni
  • 2 to 3 kumquats
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • Small pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • Some sea salt
  • Some dried seaweed flakes


Dressing: 
  • Small amount of flat leaf parsley
  • Small amount of dill
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • Some extra virgin olive oil
  • Some salt
  • Some freshly ground black pepper

How?

Use a food processor and blend together small amount of flat leaf parsley, dill, 1/2 lemon juice, small pinch of salt, small pinch of black pepper, and some extra virgin olive oil. There is no set amount for the herbs, if you like the scent from the parsley, then add more parsley; if you don't like dill, then don't use it. Just make sure to season the mixture with salt and pepper. Also drizzle enough olive oil to make the texture resembles pesto dressing.

Bring a big pot of water to a boil and add few pinches of salt. Add in the pasta and cook till al dente, drain well, set aside, and wait for the sauce to be ready.

Peel and chop the onion into tiny cubes. Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves.

Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a pan, add in the onion along with 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt and a small pinch of freshly ground black pepper. Cook till the onion turns translucent then add in finely chopped garlic. Give it a quick stir.

Pour in the heavy whipping cream and most of the uni. Save a few pieces of uni to garnish on top of the linguine later. Also add about 1/4 teaspoon of Sriracha to the heavy cream. Use the spatula to break the uni into smaller pieces, it also helps the flavor to sink in. 

You can also blend this creamy sauce together with uni by using a food processor. However, I'd like to have larger chunks of uni for this recipe instead of smooth texture if mix with the processor.

Add the pasta to the cream sauce and mix well.


Plate the pasta and top with few pieces of uni, torch a little for a more intense aroma. Squeeze one kumquat juice for each portion. Sprinkle with some dried seaweed flakes and drizzle with some parsley dill dressing. 


You can even serve this pasta with some Tabasco sauce on the side. The sourish taste from the Tabasco actually works quite well with creamy uni sauce.

Other seafood pasta recipe:
Refreshing lemony shrimp pasta for a light weekend meal
Make ahead recipe: spaghetti with pesto made with anchovies, green olives, and parsley

Dec 7, 2014

Yes. I Do Like My Eggs Slutty (Eggslut Downtown Los Angeles/Grand Central Market)

I feel ashamed that I haven't discovered the Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles sooner. Guess the OC bubble kept me away from such vibrant food scenes happening in the big city.



First time stepping into the market, all the fresh produce, butcher shops, healthy juice counters, food corners, and even petite Mexican grocery stores excite all my senses.



But what drew me here in the first place? Something slutty, something juicy - the infamous gourmet burger joint Eggslut -



Just like the name implies, egg is the main ingredient used for most of the dishes. Try to avoid weekend lunch rush hours, otherwise you might end up with a minimum of 30 minutes waiting line - speaking from experience. 


Besides the multi-cultural food scene, Los Angeles is also known for its traffic and parking issues. Luckily, there's a parking area designated for the market with entrance on Hill Street between 3rd and 4th. Free one hour parking with validation.



View of Eggslut from the street -



While waiting in the line (click on the picture for an enlarged view) -



Even though it says lunch menu, Eggslut actually only opens from breakfast hours till afternoon. Lucky Los Angeles residents who get to enjoy such great burgers in the morning -



Completely open prepping area -




Seared wagyu tri-tip steak, sliced and ready to be used as the main ingredient for gaucho -



Seating area for Eggslut is pretty limited with only a roll of stools -



However, there are many tables and few dining sections throughout the Grand Central Market. You can always bring the food and enjoy it somewhere else, just without the fun of watching Eggslut staffs transforming ingredients into delicious dishes -



Fresh juice -


Eggslut cheeseburger, single $8 with added avocado for extra $1 -


"Ground American wagyu beef, caramelized onions, bread and butter pickles, melty cheddar cheese, and dijonnaise, topped with an over medium egg in a warm Portuguese bun."

The "Slut" in the making -


Slut $9 -


"A coddled egg on top of a smooth potato puree, poached in a glass jar and served with toasty crostini."


I would expect the Slut to be a burger, since this mainly burger/sandwich-related joint is called Eggslut. Surprisingly it was something completely different. A dish loaded with carbs but in a delicious way. Even without the smooth texture from the runny yolk, the potato puree itself is creamy and well seasoned. Imagine eating highly flavored mashed potato, something close that.

On the left: Bacon, egg & cheese $6 -


"Hardwood smoked bacon, over medium egg, cheddar cheese and chipotle ketchup in a Portuguese bun."

Oozing cheese on top of oozing yolk, there's no better velvety combo than that. Bacon slices were grilled nicely, creating crunchy edges without too much grease. No heavy sticky feeling even till the last few bites of the buns. In fact, I would love to order more if the line wasn't that crazy.

On the right: Gaucho $11 -


"Seared wagyu tri-tip steak, chimichurri, pickled red onion, shaved manchego cheese and seasoned arugula topped with an over medium egg, in a toasted veneto roll."

Moist steak and once again, oozing yolk -


The peppery note from the arugula adds a touch of fresh herbal note to this somewhat healthier looking but packed with guilty flavors combo. 

Tummy stuffed with slutty goodness, it was more than enough for me to last till dinner, until I made a turn and found a Mexican taco section just few steps away. Lengua, buche, cabeza, and all that exotic parts. Not mentioning the chicharrones piling up on the side. Maybe I'm still hungry.


Cindy's Rating: 7


Eggslut 
317 South Broadway (inside Grand Central Market)
Los Angeles, CA 90013
http://www.eggslut.com/

*Free one hour parking with validation (entrance on Hill Street between 3rd and 4th)
*Open 7 days a week from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Nov 30, 2014

Quick Nutrition Boost - Vegetable Stew Using Instant Thai Style Red Curry Paste

You know you don't always have to follow the cooking instruction on the back of the instant sauce mix. Instead of using fruits and meat as suggested by my Thai red curry paste, I've decided use it as the base for simple vegetable red curry stew.


Ingredients?


  • 1 packet of Thai red curry paste
  • 1 small bag of oyster mushroom
  • 1 Chinese eggplant (the long and skinny kind)
  • 1 medium broccoli
  • 1/2 cabbage
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • Some olive oil
  • Some steamed white or brown rice (optional)



How?

Peel and slice the onion. Chop the cabbage into large pieces. Separate the broccoli florets into smaller pieces. Cut off the tough outer section from the broccoli stem and chop the tender center into bite size pieces. Slice the eggplant diagonally.

Drizzle just enough olive oil to the pan to evenly coat the bottom, turn to medium high heat. Add in the onion along with some salt and pepper. Cook till the edge of the onion turns slightly browned.

Add in the red curry paste and heat it up a little. Add in the broccoli, mushroom, and eggplant. Stir and mix well with the curry paste. 


Add in the cabbage. It might pile up like a small mountain but will gradually wilt down once heated up. Carefully give it a quick stir once a while. Pour in one can of diced tomatoes along with its juice. Also pour in the coconut milk, add the fish sauce and oyster sauce. 


Bring to a boil then keep the pot at a gently boiling state. Cook till the broccoli reaches desired texture. Taste and adjust the saltiness level with fish sauce. I prefer my veggies on the softer side so the stew took about 30 minutes for me.  

Serve over steamed rice.


You can definitely add some protein to the stew. Dark chicken meat or pork slices are two suitable options.